Leadership and Team Development FAQ
Let me preface all of this by saying that this course is specifically geared towards encouraging a positive team dynamic and someone’s ability (or choice) to perform or not perform some of the exercises is in no way detrimental to the course’s ability to foster a positive dynamic. With that said:
1. Question: What if some employee’s may not be physically or mentally able to jump from a height into the water, or be able to be dunked / roll / and escape without extreme stress/anxiety? For instance, my manager is afraid of heights and would never jump from something high willingly into the water…although she’s an avid cyclist, hiker, swimmer, and Yoga participant.
Answer: Everyone would review the statement of health forms – basically asking them to look over and see if they have any physical conditions that might make it better for them to not participate in the water portion. This would not preclude them from participating in the classroom portion or during the practical exercises (as deck support but not in the water!) – I’ll give you an example…
A) You would think that all of our folks are pretty good with heights and with doing some adrenaline filled things… well, we just did our own team building event (it was mandatory attendance) and about ¼ of our folks could not participate in the physical portion (fear of heights, weight, physical limitations). There was some excitement and a little bit of grumbling about the mandatory attendance (not mandatory participation in the physical part) – so everyone attended and had a fabulous time encouraging the ones that did, good naturedly providing suggestions for how to overcome challenges, or simply heckling… and folks that thought they would show up and meet the intent of “mandatory” ended up staying the entire day because we had such a good time together.
B) I would make this analogous to a business situation – just because the finance folks aren’t intimately familiar with the supplier products doesn’t mean they can’t add value because of what they see from a distance (pricing trends, contract terms). (a bit like the hecklers from our outing)
C) To your manager’s point – I discovered that 2 of my operations personnel – who *jump* from a height to teach class – are scared of heights. She won’t have any trouble, and if she doesn’t want to jump, she doesn’t have to. The other folks who have physical limitations likewise don’t have to do the dunker, and if someone is stressed, they can likewise pass and we’ll emphasize other skills. Also – jumping from height…. “height” is a relative term – some folks will want to jump from the platform (14 feet), some folks will be quite happy just stepping off the side of the pool (6 inches), and some will be comfortable at a height somewhere in between – we can adjust the height as needed.
D) This is not a mandatory must do all the exercises type of program – more about allowing a team to work through their individual and collective fears and concerns, and discuss their processes and how they can take the strengths (that they may not have been aware of) and apply them to a business setting, specifically with the people that they have been through the experience with.
E) On the more practical side, some of the skills also have value especially if your folks travel in airplanes a lot – but it’s not an aviation course – we’re using some of the tools – but it’s a leadership and team development program.
2. Question: Is this an exercise that is OK for all age and levels of physical ability… ages range from 20’s to 60ish …
Answer: Some data points for you – the youngest we’ve put through our water programs was 17 and the oldest was 82. We’ve had personnel who are hearing impaired, partially blind, and amputees go through the course.
A) 20-60 and all ranges of health and physical ability fits well for the profile of students for this program
B) Swimmers and non-swimmer’s alike participate in all of our programs – we have activities in the shallow end and activities in the deep end – so if anyone is concerned about their swimming ability, they shouldn’t be – we can adjust for all levels.
3. Question: Do contacts be removed?
Answer: It is the user’s preference. If they leave them in, be advised they may lose them. Some people would prefer to have them in and be able to see most of the time. Glasses can be worn in the pool as well, and we’ve had people do that. Although I don’t wear glasses now (since I had Lasik), I will tell you that I usually kept my contacts in and just kept my eyes closed when underwater.
4. Question: How long is a person under water?
Answer: Maybe 10-15 seconds at a time.
5. Question: Does everyone have to enter the pool?
Answer: No – if someone has physical limitations or anxiety, they can encourage, assist, and/or heckle from poolside. See my note above as well for folks that are non-swimmers – they can also participate in the course and we would encourage them to!
6. Question: Can we just participate in some or one of the pool activities?
Answer: Yes – although we have events/activities that are part of the program, my comments above should make it clear that we work to meet the intent of the course (leadership and team development) rather than looking to check the block for who has done what. Exercises can be adjusted to meet limitations/anxiety and deck support/hecklers are fully integrated into the activities – so no one is left out even if they can’t or choose not to do the physical activities. It’s about the team dynamic, working through stress (individually as a group), and developing (or identifying) leadership traits.
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